Wednesday, December 23, 2009


We finally found a donor vehicle!! Ryan drove Dakota, Adam, Brady and myself up to Raeford NC to purchase a 2001 Ford Ranger Edge 2wd truck. The truck is in pretty good shape and is a one owner truck originally from California with only 59,000 miles. The owner was glad to get it out of the yard, and we were glad to get it on our trailer! The only major issue is a damaged door jamb that will need some bodywork and possibly a replacement door, plus a few more cosmetic issues. Time to look for a body shop to take on the task....anybody want to sponsor us?
The Edge is a 2wd based on a 4x4 chassis. The problem, as far as a EV conversion candidate, is the obvious higher than stock ride height. We will need to see how the truck stance is affected by the added battery weight, but some suspension adjustments may need to take place....early in the game for that though. For now, we need to inspect and inventory what we have and determine our conversion plan sequence.

Friday, December 4, 2009


No, we have not changed our name, we just decided to have a little fun at our fundraising event at the Mayfaire Chick-fil-a in Wilmington on Thursday. The event was held between 5-8pm, and we will get 20% of the proceeds within that time period for all customers who purchased meals and mentioned they were supporting the Topsail Electric Vehicle program. There was a large turnout, so the results look promising. We hope to do more events such as this one in the future since it is such good exposure for our program. Thanks to all who showed up to support us and to the EV10 team who stood in the cold for 3 hours!

Ahead, Warp factor 9!

In preparation of our new conversion this year, the team decided to begin collecting the needed components. We already had a Warp 9 in the Toyota Paseo, so out it came. The motor was removed along with the coupler and adapter plate. After inspection, it was determined that the motor bearing was fine and the brushes were in very good shape. From this point, we will need to begin the design process for a new coupler and adapter plate. Of course, we do not want to put the cart before the horse, so we probably need to acquire a truck to convert first!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Winners once again! Trophy count now over 100 in 9 years of competing.

Congratulations are in order for the Electric Vehicle class and their victories this past weekend at the Northampton East EV Rally. We won first place in the Autocross event, Acceleration event and the Range event. The class also placed second in the Troubleshooting event. I was very proud of the class and the way they represented Topsail High School. The event officials commented on how my students had the best manners out of all the schools.The event was held on the Aulander air strip and it was a beautiful day for flying evidently because we had to stop the event and remove cones from the runway a few times!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Topsail Middle School 6th Grade visit

We had the opportunity today to show the MR2 to sixth grade science students at Topsail Middle today. The students were very interested in the car and the SMARTT Challenge program. Some of them will be participating in the Jr. Solar Sprint this year. Thanks to Adam, Arik, Brady and Jeff for talking to the middle school students about the EV class.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Fall Festival

We displayed at the Hampstead United Methodist Church annual Fall Festival on Saturday morning. It was a cold fall morning and to make matters worse, the Coastal Cruisers car club did not show up, so we did not get the traffic and attention were would have gotten if they had. It actually looked like we had broken down at the Church! Visitors to the festival kept parking all around us so we decided to leave around noon. Sometimes it is better to cut your losses. Anyway,
thanks to Ryan, Brady, Ashley and Aaron for working a shift even though they didn't have many viewers. There will be many more opportunities in the future to spread the word of Electrics.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Doughnuts and Specific Gravity

2 dozen glazed doughnuts from Surf City Deli
Dakota looking through the refractometer

The true measure of a battery state of charge is the specific gravity value. As you can see on this page, a fully charged battery should be 1.265. We made a chart and measured the specific gravity of the electrolyte of each cell in all 13 batteries. We used an instrument called a refractometer to do the testing. We are trying to determine if we have any batteries or cells that read lower than the others. Readings should not vary more than .05 differences between cells. So far, so good. We have a couple of batteries that are "suspect" right now and we may have to desulfate them and recheck later. We did find last week that we had one battery with a dead cell, so we replaced it and things are looking better for now.

P.S. I bribed the students with doughnuts to get them to work!!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Spot Festival

We had the MR2 on display at the Hampstead Spot Festival again this year. Usually this is the most exposure we get with our program, but this year the rain kept people home and the crowds were light. We displayed on Saturday and the team volunteered their time with the festival on Saturday and Sunday, parking cars, picking up trash, hauling hay, and breading fish in the Spot fish dinner tent. I was pleased that all of my team showed up for their shifts and represented the school well. Hopefully next year will have better weather.

Homecoming parade a washout

We took the freshly washed MR2 to the homecoming game on Friday night only to have the parade cancelled due to bad weather. So we just displayed the vehicle and made the best of the situation. On a bright note, the Pirates won! On the the Spot Festival tomorrow and hoping for good weather.
P.S. No, we are not promoting gangs is just the guys showing the "EV" sign with their hands...clever.

Friday, September 25, 2009

DC/DC Converter installed!

We finally got around to installing the Iota DLS-45 DC/DC converter this week. The unit was installed under the car in the tunnel that previously housed the gas tank. So we would not any issues with the converter turning on before the controller, we used a small contactor that is activated at the same time as the main battery pack contactor. We found out the hard way last spring that if the auxiliary battery is low on charge and the DC/DC turns on before the Raptor controller, it tries to charge the battery and pulls high voltage through the controller thus destroying the pre-charge circuit. So this time we did it right and smoke!
One benefit of the work this week was that several new students were able to gain a better understanding of the vehicle schematic. Knowledge is power.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Storage a plenty

The EV garage is in the process of getting a makeover with the addition of shelving in the storage room. We never really had time to organize and make the garage our own last year since, by the time we moved into the new school, we immediately began the MR2 conversion.
The EV10 team took control with Ryan Stone in charge and within a day, the shelving was erected. Thanks to Jim Stone for the lumber donation and to the students who took the time to help complete the project(see photo). Now it is organization time!

Monday, September 14, 2009 interview (Podcast #270)

We were interviewed Saturday by Nikki Bloomfield from about our EV program. Two students and myself fielded questions for an hour during a conference call over Skype. Marissa and Arik did a fine job with the questions, answering honestly and with candor. Nikki was very impressed with the program and did a great job of promoting what we are doing and making it known that fundraising is a crucial part of our program. Looks like the Topsail EV team has gone international!
You can catch out Podcast by going to

Saturday, September 5, 2009

It's back!! Up and running again with new Raptor.

We received the rebuilt Raptor controller this week from Peter Senkowsky and installed it during class with the new EV10 students. I must admit, I was apprehensive and nervous about firing it up, but we managed to not let the smoke out and all is well. I have not driven the car enough to determine if this one is "peppier" since it does not have the"mild" chip that Peter had in the loaner controller, but I will keep you posted.
The EV10 students seem very eager to learn and to participate, hope this enthusiasm continues throughout the year as we embrace a new conversion. Next up, installing the DC/DC converter.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Raptor Extraction!

Today, we finally had to say goodbye to our "loaner" Raptor from Peter Senkowsky. Several EV10 students (Arik, Adam, Marissa and Josh), an EV9 (Rob) and Jeffcoat showed up to help with the extraction. It took an hour and a few small jolts to Adam's leg before the controller finally bid farewell to the MR2. I spoke to Peter today and he informed me that there was a slight delay in rebuilding our controller due to a few design changes. He should be sending ours out within 10 days. Meanwhile, the MR2 is resting on the lift awaiting the heart transplant. I will keep you informed.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Controller exchange time

Back in May, we had an unfortunate controller meltdown just days before our final event in Raleigh. Bad news for sure, but even worse, the Raptor controller has been out of production for nearly 5 years. Fortunately, I contacted Peter Senkowski in Ca. and he agreed to send us a Raptor "loaner" overnight and he would rebuild our damaged controller. He has finished our Raptor and completed a 200 mile burn-in so it is time to send the loaner back. This Thursday, we will remove and ship out the controller and await the return of old smokey. Hopefully we will not have a repeat performance requiring the fire extinguisher!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Presentation at Wilmington Men's Club

The Mr2 conversion was presented at the Wilmington Men's Club on Friday morning at the YMCA in Wilmington. Five EV10 members were there, Adam. Arik, Ashley, Brady and Josh. They fielded questions during and after the presentation and showed the MR2 outside to a very enthusiastic and supportive group of about 100 elderly men. We were impressed by their energy and enthusiasm plus their insightful questions. We were introduced by an old friend in Bouty Baldridge who showed his Lithium powered Geo Metro.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Fiero sold and shipped!

The Fiero was loaded up and sent on its way to the new owner in Florida today. Yesterday, we got the Fiero moved from the old garage and washed in preparation for the transport to Florida for the new owner. Thanks to Chris, Ryan, Marissa, Jeff, Brady and Arik for the help!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Car show

We displayed the MR2 at a car show today sponsored by the Topsail Wrestling team. There were over 60 cars there from 1937 to 2010...of course we were the only electric car so there were plenty of questions. Thanks to Brady, Adam, Marissa and also Rob from last year for showing up to help answer the tough questions!
Next week we show the car at the Wilmington men's club.

Monday, July 13, 2009


Goals for EV10:
Convert a new 96 volt truck
Convert a full size truck to a Plug-in Hybrid
New web page
Monthly newsletter
Add MR2 to the EV photo album
Troubleshooting board
THS EVent- EV by the Sea (Markley will need help from all of us)
Fundraising early and often
Change MR2 interior color
Networking (Facebook, Twitter, Blogging...etc)
Build storage shelves in shop

New steering wheel

Thanks to an 18 year old recall, the MR2 now has a brand new steering wheel! I had noticed on the MR2OC message board that there was a recall on the MR2 steering wheel dating way back to 1991 and there may be a chance my car would benefit. I do not know why they had the recall, but our wheel was showing the effects of age and ozone degradation on the foam padding. A quick check with the dealer showed our car was eligible! We went with black even though our interior is blue because we plan on changing the interior color soon.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

$100 is better than 0$!

Fundraising was not so successful. We were promised $100 from Jeff Gordon Chevrolet and had several "Come back later's". Britt Motorsports said they could not donate cash but would try to find and alternative way to help us such as the possibility of a motorcycle raffle.
I know this is a tough time financially for everyone, but I also feel that we will never know unless we ask. Maybe next week we can strike paydirt. Feel free to provide any contacts you may know who might be willing to help out out team. Thanks!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Fundraising Tomorrow

Tomorrow some students for next years' class will be going around the Wilmington area looking for sponsors for our fundraising campaign. For the past 9 years, the EV program has been self-funded through sponsorships and donations from area merchants and gracious individuals or local service organizations. We have ambitious goals for "EV10" next year and we will need quite a bit of money to complete our goals.

Hopefully tomorrow will turn out great!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

First Blog

This is our first blog.... we are starting out this years class with a bang. We have 10 new members that are ready for what ever is thrown at them.

Yesterday we sold our first ever conversion EV conversion, a 1996 Ford ranger. Hopefully with this money from our truck, we will be able to convert a new truck.

So far, this year looks promising and we hope to keep it that way!